As freshman Anne Forsythe lined up at the Hudson Mills Metropark course Friday in Dexter, Mich., she recalled all the ins and outs of the land in front of her. Having raced on the course multiple times throughout her high school career, the Ann Arbor native had plenty of experience to draw on — not to mention world-class talent.
In the end, these factors would combine to help Forsythe cross the finish line first at the EMU Fall Classic and faster than she’s ever done it before — almost 63 seconds faster to be exact. Forsythe would finish the race with a time of 16:57.9.
While not competing in a Michigan uniform, Forsythe supplemented a stellar Wolverine performance that saw both the men’s and women’s teams dominate.
Forsythe is a freshman at Michigan, but ran unaffiliated from the university as to not burn her redshirt status with the team. But after two dominant, unattached performances in the regular season, coach Mike McGuire has a tough decision make — maintain Forsythe’s redshirt status or find her a spot in an already stacked postseason squad.
“Obviously, it’s gonna be my decision, but we’re gonna get input on where she’s at,” McGuire said. “She hasn’t had the luxury of running in uniform up to this point, so there is a bit of an adjustment with all the sudden stepping in the lineup with your teammates, that kinda thing. We want to make sure it’s the right time for the team and the right time for Anne.”
If selected to compete at next week’s Big Ten Championships, Forsythe would try to help her team win its third straight Big Ten title amid one of the most competitive conferences in the country.
And the Wolverines look poised to do just that. Finishing second at last week’s Pre-National Invitational, only behind last year’s champion New Mexico, Michigan showed its depth and finished first among Big Ten foes.
On Friday, though, the focus was on the Wolverines’ ‘B’ team — a squad that also flexed its muscle in a top finish in Dexter. The women’s team claimed a dominant victory over the likes of Michigan State and Eastern Michigan.
Leading the pack for Michigan was fifth-year senior Rachel Coleman who clocked a 17:32.2 on the five-kilometer course. She finished fifth overall in the event and was followed closely by redshirt junior Faith Reynolds, who finished sixth with a time of 17:38.4. Showing drastic improvement from just a season ago, redshirt freshman Raquel Powers finished seventh in 17:43.8.
“I’d say of our athletes in uniform, Rachel Coleman ran her best race of the season by far,” McGuire said, “And I thought we had some really solid performances from several others such as Faith Reynolds and Raquel Powers.”
As for the men’s race, the Wolverines landed another three runners in the top-10 to show the depth of its team while closing out the regular season. Redshirt freshman Christian Hubaker crossed the finish line fourth overall and first for Michigan with a time of 15:22.2.
A pair of fellow redshirt freshmen, Dominic Dimambro and Lewis Tate, quickly followed Hubaker to come in eighth and ninth with times of 15:33.3 and 15:35.2, respectively.
The men’s team trotted out its ‘B’ squad as well on Friday, while both ‘A’ teams rested up for the start of the postseason meets. With a week of rejuvenation under its belts, both the mens’ and women’s teams are poised for continued success ahead of the Big Ten Championships and are embracing the opportunity to take on the conference’s best.
“We know it’s gonna be a challenge,” McGuire said. “There are five teams ranked in the top 15, so outside of the two real power conferences at this point in the nation are ourselves and the Pac-12. Both meets will be barnburners in their own right. And we’re just excited to be a part of the mix. We’ll be prepared and hopefully set up a race plan to get us on top of the podium.”